Democratizing Entrepreneurship: Online Documents, Tools, and Startup Know-How

Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law, Volume 26-1, 193-224 (2017)

50 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2019

See all articles by Jeff Thomas

Jeff Thomas

Central Michigan University - College of Business Administration

Praveen Kosuri

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Bernice Grant

Fordham University School of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 29, 2017

Abstract

New ventures are inherently cash-strapped. The founders who start them are typically doers — problem-identifiers and solvers who are great at finding ways to get things done within given constraints. For most entrepreneurs, the legal formalities associated with new ventures are a low priority at best and an ignored bureaucracy at worst. No startup wants to expend scarce resources on what it perceives as legal formalities. Online tools have recently emerged to help address this issue by making it easier for entrepreneurs to comply with the formalities associated with forming new businesses and raising capital. More importantly, these tools also democratize access to legal documents and startup know-how for all types of entrepreneurs. The open-sourced documents and technology platform allow ventures outside entrepreneurial epicenters, such as Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston, to utilize the same documents (and know-how) routinely used by new ventures that are advised by the most experienced startup counsel. Some practices will not fit all types of ventures. However, several additional ventures may benefit from granting equity to team members, making that equity subject to vesting, and utilizing two-tier stock structures. These resources can empower more ventures to implement these practices.

Keywords: Startups, Venture Capital, Emerging, Online, Do It Yourself, Silicon Valley, Wizard, Legal Tech, Technology, Web, Portal, Automation, Formation, Forms, Document, Self-Help

JEL Classification: K12, K22, K19, O3

Suggested Citation

Thomas, Jeff and Kosuri, Praveen and Grant, Bernice, Democratizing Entrepreneurship: Online Documents, Tools, and Startup Know-How (December 29, 2017). Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law, Volume 26-1, 193-224 (2017), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3457296

Jeff Thomas (Contact Author)

Central Michigan University - College of Business Administration ( email )

170 Grawn Hall
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858
United States

Praveen Kosuri

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Bernice Grant

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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